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Activision sees major banks brought in to broker sale

Activision sees major banks brought in to broker sale

Wed 18 Jul 2012 4:16pm GMT / 12:16pm EDT / 9:16am PDT
BusinessFinancial

Activision Blizzard talking to Barclays and Goldman Sachs over $8bn sale of publisher

Activision Blizzard

Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, Activision Blizzard, Inc. is a worldwide pure-play online...

activisionblizzard.c...

The persistent rumor of an impending Activision Blizzard sale seems to be gaining steam, with reports now saying several banks have been brought in to help broker a deal with interested parties. The Call of Duty publisher is currently controlled by Vivendi, which owns a 61 percent stake in the company.

Reported by the Wall Street Journal, the team at ATVI are apparently talking with Goldman Sachs as well as Barclays on how to best approach a deal, one that the publisher has not disclosed is actually happening.

There appear to be several options on the table - outright sale of the company to another publisher, manufacturer or other interested party could occur. It has also been suggested that Activision might buy back the 61 percent stake owned by Vivendi, a purchase that would hit to the tune of $8 billion.

7 Comments

Has anyone seen a informative report by the media on why the divestment / sale of Activision has been undertaken - what has been seen in Activision that makes it a good idea to sell it just as we see a major slump in game sales internationally? Or is this one of those questions that publishers have forced the console media not to ask?

Posted:2 years ago

#1

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,628 1,509 0.9
Or is this one of those questions that publishers have forced the console media not to ask?
No comment?

Personally, I'll be waiting for the New York Times, WSJ or FT to answer this question. No doubt they'll get to it before the gaming media does.

Posted:2 years ago

#2

Steve Peterson West Coast Editor, GamesIndustry.biz

111 73 0.7
The sale is driven by Vivendi's boardroom battles and their desire to cash out, not by Activision's prospects per se. At least, that seems to be the word making the rounds. Whether or not they can find a buyer is another question; no one has stepped forward publicly yet.

Posted:2 years ago

#3

James Prendergast Research Chemist

740 437 0.6
Agreed with Steve. As far as I've read, it's Vivendi who are deep into the red (debt-wise) and who need to shed some "weight" to achieve a more balanced sheet on their media empire.

As it stands, Activision-Blizzard is very profitable (though no idea on what people think of the long-term prospects based on current projections), however, that doesn't immediately pay back Vivendi's own responsibilities since they don't wholly own Acti-Blizz, regardless of how much capital they have in the bank.

Posted:2 years ago

#4

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
Bobby Kotick is a business genius who is a money making machine. He has taken Activision from being utterly on the ropes to being by far the biggest game company in the world. Vivendi could want out for any one of a number of reasons, or a combination of them. Here are a few.

*Restructuring to core competences.
*Reducing dollar exposure.
*De-leveraging.
*Opportunist disposal at top of market.
*Reduced exposure to next generation platform risk.
*Better alternative investments.
*Personality fallouts.
*Board level office politics/power struggle.
*Realising their capital gain.
*Strategic view of the game industry future.
*Reaction to the demise of packaged games.
etc etc etc

Posted:2 years ago

#5

Terence Gage Freelance writer

1,289 126 0.1
@ Bruce:

"He has taken Activision from being utterly on the ropes"
Do you have an example? As far as I recall they were always a big publisher who just didn't have a supermassive hit until COD4.

"Bobby Kotick ... has taken Activision ... to being by far the biggest game company in the world."
Surely he was only granted this opportunity because of the Vivendi takeover and the merger with Blizzard? Would they be in their current good health were it not for the hundred million dollars per month coming in from WoW? Or the excellent sales from Blizzard's other properties? Does any of this money even go into Acti's coffers, or do the companies operate wholly independent of one another? Serious questions; I'm interested to understand the corporate structure between the two businesses.

Posted:2 years ago

#6

Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
@Terence Gage

From Wikipedia:

Eventually in 1989, after several years of losses, Activision closed down the Infocom studios in Cambridge, Massachusetts, extending to only 11 of the 26 employees an offer to relocate to Activision's headquarters in Silicon Valley. Five of them accepted this offer.[21]
In 1988, Activision began involvement in other types of software besides video games, such as business applications. As a result, Activision changed its corporate name to Mediagenic to have a name that globally represented all its activities. Under the Mediagenic holding company, Activision continued to publish video games for various platforms notably the Nintendo Entertainment System, the Sega Master System, the Atari 7800, Atari ST, Commodore 64 and Amiga.
New Activision
Following a multi-million judgment on damages in a patent infringement, suit wherein infringement had been determined many years prior during the Levy era, a financially weakened Mediagenic was taken over by an investor group led by Robert Kotick also known as Bobby Kotick. After taking over the company, the new management filed for a Chapter 11 reorganization. In the reorganization, the company merged Mediagenic with The Disc Company. While emerging from bankruptcy, Mediagenic continued to develop games for PCs and video game consoles, and resumed making strategic acquisitions. After emerging from bankruptcy, Mediagenic officially changed its entity name back to Activision on December 1992 and became a Delaware Corporation (it was previously a California Corporation). At that point, Activision moved its headquarters from Mountain View in the Silicon Valley to Santa Monica in Southern California. Activision chose from then on to concentrate solely on video gaming.

Posted:2 years ago

#7

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